MakEY

Makerspaces in the early years: Enhancing digital literacy and creativity’ (MakEY)

‘Makerspaces in the early years: Enhancing digital literacy and creativity’ (MakEY) is a 30 month project funded by the EU Research and Innovation Staff Exchange (RISE) scheme. The project aims to further research and innovation in the area of young children’s digital literacy and creative design skills in order to contribute to Europe’s future competitiveness and growth.

The project will develop a network of researchers, creative industry professionals and educators who can collaborate to develop educational materials and tools to foster children’s digital literacy and design skills and offer recommendations for research, policy and practice.

This innovative project will ensure young children develop the kinds of skills and knowledge relevant for their digital futures. In recent years, a ‘maker’ movement has been growing across the globe, which promotes and celebrates a DIY culture in which individuals make, hack and tinker with a range of materials and devices.

There has been a rise in the use of ‘makerspaces’, hack labs and Fab Labs, which are spaces that give people access to the tools needed to be creative in this way. ‘Makerspaces in the early years: Enhancing digital literacy and creativity’ seeks to ensure young children are involved in these exciting developments.

Research projects will be undertaken in six EU countries (Denmark, Germany, Noway, Finland, Iceland, Romania, UK) and the USA, in which staff working in makerspaces (including hacklabs and Fab Labs) will collaborate with academics to identify the benefits and challenges of running makerspace workshops in both formal (nurseries and schools) and informal (museums and libraries) educational settings.

The research team will work in partnership with academics in Australia, Canada, Colombia, South Africa and the USA, creating a global network of scholars who will work together to further understanding of the role of makerspaces in developing young children's digital literacy and creativity.

Professor Jackie Marsh who is leading the project, commented, “This is an important project in terms of creating ways in which young children can develop the kinds of skills and knowledge that are going to be critical in the years ahead. Problem-solving, designing and creating are important for the creative economy and this project will provide opportunities for nurseries, schools, libraries and museums to work alongside the maker community in designing a learning experience for the future.”

The project will lead to guidance being published for teachers, librarians and museum educators on adopting a makerspace approach to creative design and digital literacy.

Research and Innovation Staff Exchange (RISE)

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